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Spring 2018





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Celebrating our first anniversary Welcome to the first Discover magazine of 2018. Our plans to transform train services in East Anglia are well underway, with the first of our new trains now being built in Switzerland, ready for testing and commissioning before entering service towards the end of Spring 2019 – followed by the rest of the fleet by the end of 2020. However, we’re also fully focused on raising service standards in the meantime. We’ve been refurbishing many of our existing trains, starting to fit more with Wi-Fi and making them more reliable, as well as improving information provision, trialling new 26–30 and Club 50 discount railcards, and continuing to offer a wide range of good value fares. So, whether your journey is for work, business or pleasure, we’re making rail a better and more convenient option.

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Jamie Burles Greater Anglia managing director

Customer services

W greateranglia.co.uk T 0345 600 7245 (option 8) FREEPOST RSCZ-UXZJ-EHHE, Greater Anglia Contact Centre, Norwich Railway Station, Station Approach, Norwich, NR1 1EF For Greater Anglia Chantal Callaghan E magazine@greateranglia.co.uk For Immediate Media Co Group editor Matt Havercroft Commissioning editor Harriet Cooper Group production editor Oliver Hurley Design director Will Slater Account manager Kirsten Coleman Director Julie Williams Editorial director Dan Linstead Head of commercial & partnerships Jamie Bolton E jamie.bolton@immediate.co.uk T 0117 300 8518 Discover Greater Anglia magazine is published on behalf of Greater Anglia by Immediate Media Co, Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol, BS1 3BN T 0117 927 9009 W immediate.co.uk



05 Arrivals

10 Spring into action

30 Travel bugs

16 The silicon city

32 Smart traveller

21 Off the page

Network news, events and culture, including festivals with a twist Cracking Easter fun and games for little travellers with best bugs Col and Chester Tips to help you to get the most out of your Greater Anglia journeys

34 Column: Arthur Smith goes off the rails

Comedian Arthur Smith uncovers a not-so-top-secret nuclear bunker disguised as an Essex farm house

Supercharge your spring with our 18 ideas for great days out in 2018 We reveal why Cambridge has far more to offer than its historic university and dreaming spires Discover the literary greats who took their inspiration from East Anglia’s rolling fens and rugged coasts

26 Gardener’s world

Introducing Humphry Repton, the social climber who changed the face of England’s gardens

Sit back, Relax, And fly. Advance fare Southend Airport

From only



* One way

Fast, frequent train travel from London Liverpool Street to Southend Airport as often as every 20-30 minutes, seven days a week.† *Price per person, each way when booked in advance. Advance fares are subject to availability and are for nominated Greater Anglia trains, one way. Advance fares are not available at weekends during engineering works. Please use the journey planner to check affected dates and services. Terms and conditions apply. †

Average scheduled frequency. Journeys to and from Southend Airport are every 20 mins through the day Monday to Saturday, and every 30 mins on Sundays.

Book now at greateranglia.co.uk

Ben Johnson’s painting Crescent Wing (2009) shows the streamlined interior of Foster’s building. A perfect visualisation of the High-Tech age





A new show marvels at our post-war architectural gems This year the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, the first ever public building designed by Norman Foster, celebrates its 40th anniversary. To mark the event the gallery presents ‘Superstructures: The New Architecture 1960-1990’. The exhibition tells the story of architecture’s fascination with technology in the post-war decades and the drive – by a generation of architects who challenged convention – to use lightweight structures, industrialised building techniques and innovative engineering solutions. In doing so, these (mainly British) architects evolved a new type of building or ‘superstructure’, often referred to as ‘High-Tech’. Foster’s Sainsbury Centre epitomised this new experimental architecture and the exhibition invites visitors to discover the legacy of HighTech and how the building was created. Superstructures: The New Architecture 1960–1990’ is running from 24 March to 2 September. To find out more, visit scva.ac.uk. The nearest station is Norwich, followed by a taxi or bus to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. To book a train, go to greateranglia.co.uk




Round the houses As the days grow longer, there’s plenty to celebrate at East Anglia’s spectacular stately homes From Tudor mansions to Palladian palaces, East Anglia boasts some of the country’s finest stately homes. And spring is when many of these magnificent piles burst into life. Holkham Hall (holkham.co.uk) in Norfolk has a new exhibition opening in March, ‘Treasures and Trophies’, which promises a unique insight into the life of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. In contrast, Norfolk’s Houghton Hall (houghtonhall.com) is handing over its State Rooms to modern artist Damien Hirst to display a new series of his dot paintings from 25 March – 15 July. In Suffolk, meanwhile, green-fingered folk will want to visit the annual Spring Plant Fair at Helmingham Hall on 27 May (helmingham.com), which will host over 40 nurseries. For new season natural delights, from 21 April to 7 May the Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire (nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate) invites visitors to see newborn lambs and even live births at its Home Farm.

Daffodils growing in the gardens at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire


Where to herald the arrival of spring “There’s nothing sweeter than a visit to the Junior Farm at Wroxham Barns. Not only can kids collect eggs, meet the ‘greedy goats’, groom the ponies and visit the piggery, they can also get the chance to sit on a straw bale and bottlefeed one of the farm’s many newborn lambs.” Alanna Clear, 38, Mile End, London

“The gardens at Audley End House are particularly impressive in the spring. The parkland is a sea of golden daffodils, while the more formal beds pop with colourful hyacinths, primroses and tulips. And as the sun gets ever warmer, the fruit trees begin to blossom, which is quite a sight.” Tim Archer, 75, Great Bardfield, Essex

“Spring is a great time of year to take on a stretch of the Norfolk Coast Path (or all of it!). The 83-mile path starts in Hunstanton and takes you all the way round the coast to the Norfolk/Suffolk border at Hoptonon-Sea. The wildlife and landscapes along the way are astonishing – it is a birdwatcher’s paradise.” Tom James, 36, Holt, Norfolk

For the latest offers on great days out, go to greateranglia.co.uk/offers




Horsing around in Newmarket Char Collins, former tour guide at the National Stud, shares her tips about the ‘home of British horse-racing’ Eat

The Packhorse Inn in Moulton is a traditional pub that offers a fantastic menu comprising all the best seasonal produce. thepackhorseinn.com

The future of travel


The Tack Room Restaurant based at the National Heritage Centre serves great cocktails, is friendly and in a central location. They often have winetasting evenings, too. bit.ly/2Atx2DF


For a selection of unique gifts to suit all occasions, try The Rocking Rabbit in Market Street. 01638 668 080


Book a Discover Newmarket Tour, which includes the Newmarket gallops, the National Stud and the National Heritage Centre. discovernewmarket.co.uk/ tours


Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, which is situated within walking distance of the town centre, has a luxury spa and swimming pool, and the 2 AA-rosette Squires restaurant. bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk


30-second guide to… Gillying


BUN FUN Did you know that the world’s oldest hot cross bun is believed to have been baked in Colchester on Good Friday in 1807? Not surprisingly it is now “rock hard”, according to the bun’s owners.

Gillying? Please explain…

I’m hooked! Where can I go?

Gillying is a Norfolk term for crabbing, a favourite family pastime on the coast as the weather gets warmer (crab season is generally between April and November).

You need a high tide and somewhere to perch. Top spots include Blakeney and Wells-next-the-Sea quays and Cromer Pier. Remember, don’t overcrowd the bucket, change the water every hour and return them back to the water.

So, how to do it? Arm yourself with a bucket of seawater, a crab line (the traditional method, as opposed to a net) and some bait – bacon or fish offcuts work a treat. Drop the line and wait…

Is it just a Norfolk thing? Goodness no. It’s popular along the entire East Anglian coast. It’s fun, it’s cheap and everyone can join in…

Our Virtual Reality Tour, at the end of last year, was a great success. Using a headset, passengers could board the operator’s new Bombardier and Stadlers trains, due to come into service in 2019, and explore their interiors. For more, visit greateranglia.co.uk/ newtrains/360tour.

Have an ’app-y journey We’ve given our Greater Anglia app an overhaul. New features include flexible ticket options, automatically selecting the cheapest fare for you, live train times, easy payment choices and more. Download the app at bit.ly/2uuyPnM

Remote station adopted Berney Arms, East Anglia’s most remote station, has been adopted by local Chris Palmer under Greater Anglia’s ‘Adopt a Station’ scheme. This popular initiative enables individuals or groups to contribute to their local station’s use and welfare. Go to greateranglia.co.uk/ about-us/stationadopter-scheme




Take a stroll around the springtime woods in the Essex countryside

Go to town

Kicking your heels? Hop on a train to London with our special offers… For the sports fan

Go behind the scenes at Arsenal Football Club on a self-guided tour of Emirates Stadium. Holloway. Mon-Fri, 9.30am6pm. £22

For the foodie

Indulge in a ‘Confessions of a Chocoholic’ afternoon tea at Podium Restaurant on Park Lane. To make a real occasion

of it, add Champagne. Mayfair. Mon-Tues, 2pm-5pm. £39

1,000-year-old Tower of London, which protects the royal jewels. Tower Hill. Tues-Sat, 9am5.30pm; Sun-Mon, 10am5.30pm. £28

For the night owl

Book a table at the glitzy London Cabaret Club, a one-stop shop for dining and entertainment. Holburn. Every Friday and Saturday. £75

For the art lover

Catch the EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London at Tate Britain – it’s a must-see. Millbank. Daily until 7 May, from 10am. £17.70

For the history buff

Soak up the atmosphere at the

Claim over 150 fantastic 2FOR1 offers on Greater Anglia trains. Visit greateranglia.co.uk/2for1


Railway cafés worth missing your train for The Station Bistro

The Station Buffet

Wymondham, Norfolk This beautifully restored restaurant serves light snacks and hearty mains in both its welcoming Bistro Room, or a converted train carriage, complete with train seats and luggage racks.

Manningtree, Essex It may be small, but this café and pub is hugely popular with passengers who like to pop in en route for one of the excellent cooked breakfasts or a refreshing pint, always served with a smile.


Whistle Stop Café Woodbridge, Suffolk A family-run café with a welldeserved reputation for its great all-day brunches, irresistible homemade cakes and friendly service.



01206 391 114

Station Café and Community Rooms Beccles, Norfolk Locals and travellers alike flock to this café, run as a social enterprise, for the delicious locally sourced food and drinks. Highly recommended are the bacon butties and coffee.

07544 038 313

Start and finish: Stansted Mountfitchet station Distance: 3 miles


Walk along Station Road and Lower Street; fork right at the pub. Continue along Gall End and the fenced path. Go around the field, turn left at the “Wildside Walk” arrow and keep straight.


At Snakes Lane, turn right for one mile towards Ugley Green. Turn right onto Dellows Lane and follow it. Turn right at the footpath sign, through the cottage gate.


Head along the path to Alsa Wood and turn right through the trees. Turn left at the end of the wood and follow the path.


Turn right on to the lane and left into the nature reserve. Turn left at end of pond, then right, and keep straight to return to “Wildside Walk”. Return to the station by the same route.





Crab and Lobster Festival

Festival of Plants

Every May, crustacean lovers flock to Cromer for a weekend of “fun, food, art, music and heritage” at the annual Crab and Lobster Festival. Dedicated to promoting the area’s seafaring history and fishing community, there’s plenty to keep everyone amused during the two days, from a traditional seaside variety concert to a crab sandwich-making competition and a cookery theatre. Snap snap…

This promises to be a fun-filled, fact-finding, family day out as the heritage-listed Cambridge University Botanic Garden becomes a hive of green-fingered activity. There’ll be a range of special tours and talks, ask-the-gardener sessions and pop-up plant science stalls, where University researchers will share how they are using plant science to address global problems. There will also be a host of activities for little ones, plus live music and refreshments.

19-20 May, Evington Gardens, Cromer

19 May, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambs

crabandlobsterfestival.co.uk. Nearest station: Cromer

botanic.cam.ac.uk. Nearest station: Cambridge


Festivals with a twist

Fancy spending your weekend joining an eel parade or learning about botany? See our pick of the festivals offering more than just music



WOW – Women of the World

Ely Eel Festival

WOW is a global festival movement designed to celebrate women and girls. Founded in 2010 by Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director, Jude Kelly CBE, it is now the largest women’s movement in the world. And in April it’s coming to Norwich. Expect fascinating talks (previous speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Christine Lagarde, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox and many more), debates, workshops, mentoring and pop-ups.

It is to the eel to which Ely owes so much, including its name, so it’s little surprise to learn the city hosts a four-day festival celebrating this humble fish. The highlight has to be the Eel Parade, when Ellie the Eel heads a carnival-inspired procession along the city’s Eel Trail Heritage Walk. There’s also an eel-throwing competition (no eels are harmed, just toys) and the chance to sample what was once a staple food of the Fens. Would you like that smoked or jellied?

27-29 April, Norwich Arts Centre, Norfolk

wow.southbankcentre.co.uk. Nearest station: Norwich

4-7 May, Ely, Cambs

elyeelfestival.co.uk. Nearest station: Ely

Why not make a long weekend of it and stay in town? In partnership with Booking.com, Greater Anglia are able to bring you some fantastic deals across the region. Go to greateranglia.co.uk/offers/book-hotel


Words Georgina Wilson-Powell Illustration BloodBros

WAY S T O S U P E R C H A R G E Y O U R S P R I N G I N 2018 As the winter gives way to spring, it’s the perfect time to reconnect with the great outdoors and discover a different side of East Anglia by train. From foot-stomping hoedowns and historic hikes to forest feasts and wild swimming, here’s a selection of the most inspiring ways to embrace the new season 10

spring adventures



The Orwell Bluegrass Festival (11–13 May) is one of the biggest of its kind in the UK, as American and European musicians descend on a quiet wooded corner of Nacton every year to jam. Set on the banks of the River Orwell, just outside Ipswich, it’s the ideal spot to camp out and spend a toe-tapping weekend listening to the bands, as well as joining in at open mic sessions. Everyone’s welcome at this happy hoedown. orwellbluegrass.co.uk Nearest station: Ipswich


Tuck into the best bites of Cambridge on a mouth-watering walking tour. From unearthing the city’s secret gourmet gems on the Hidden Cambridge Food Tour to the Gin O’Clock Gin Tour, there’s something to whet every appetite. We like the Lunch Tour, where a local foodie will take you around the must-visit spots to sample local produce (hello, fudge and Scotch eggs). A good appetite is a must. cambridgefoodtour.com Nearest station: Cambridge


The Spring Star Party (12-19 April) on Kelling Heath might have been started by the Norwich Astronomical Society, but today it’s far more than staring into space. It’s become a bit of a shindig, with camping encouraged and food, bars and other stalls setting up shop to encourage people to discover Travel by train with the dark skies of north Norfolk. Greater Anglia and enjoy 10 percent off single starparty.org tickets for the Cambridge Nearest station: Sheringham Food Tour Lunch; go to bit.ly/2BHOYKz for more

Less high heels and more hiking information. boots, the Essex Way runs for 81 miles from Epping Forest to Harwich. Follow the path and discover ancient woodlands, spring flower meadows, leafy green lanes and hops in the hedgerows, a hangover from Roman hopfields. Dip in and out of the trail as you see fit (and the historic pubs along the way – many were once frequented by highwaymen, Dick Turpin being the most notorious). bit.ly/2jaXc2Z Nearest station: Chingford for Epping Forest




Get to know the original residents of Kentwell Hall, aka the Tudors, from 30 March to 2 April. More than a hundred period actors will be at this historic manor in Long Melford, celebrating Easter just as they would have done 500 years ago. See medieval bakers, crafters and musicians as they go about their day, plus there’s an egg hunt, Impossible Quiz and farm park for the kids. kentwell.co.uk Nearest station: Sudbury

6 WILD TIMES Unleash your inner woodland nymph at this year’s Wild Tree Fair on 25–27 May. The annual gathering – at a secret location near Norwich – takes in bushcraft, magic, music and dancing, and the whole event is powered by solar energy. You can dress up, glamp in woodland shelters and revel in a festival that’s more about fairies and fun than famous faces. wildtreefair.co.uk Nearest station: Norwich


How better to discover Colchester’s historic secrets than on a Treasure Trail? This 2.5 mile self-guided Murder Mystery-themed loop takes in some of the Roman town’s prettiest parts, with clues found on monuments and ancient buildings (you can text for help if you get stuck). Perfect for an Easter holiday adventure…

treasuretrails.co.uk/things-to-do/essex/colchester Nearest station: Colchester

spring adventures


Did you know that Ness Point is the most easterly point of the UK? And the reward for heading out that far is you’ ll be the first in the UK to welcome the sun in the morning. For the last few years, an Easter Sunday Sunrise Service has been held at the Point, with the Salvation Army Band providing rousing, brass-led tunes.


Mini Bear Grylls wannabes will love creating a woodland feast at the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Spring Wild Chef event on 4 April. Aimed at 8 to 14-year-olds, the Trust will take the kids on a foraging walk through Bradfield Woods in Bradfield St George, before teaching them how to cook up what they find over an open fire. bit.ly/2yUuTeJ Nearest station: Bury St Edmunds

ness-point.co.uk Nearest station: Lowestoft

11 CALL OF NATURE With around 8,500 species in 1,800 acres, nature reserve Wicken Fen is the kind of place you want to keep to yourself. But we like to share. The National Trust operates a wild camping site here, with open fronted shelters, a fire pit and compost toilet. Bring sausages, marshmallows, an airbed... and you’re ready for a night round the fire. It’s ideal for a family trying out camping for the first time, but booking is essential. bit.ly/2CYcktr Nearest station: Ely

9 PRET T Y AS A PICTURE A weekend art course is the perfect excuse for a spring break. Located down a quiet rural lane in Harleston, surrounded by fields, meadows and ponds, artist Nicola Slattery has been running courses for over 25 years. Choose from Painting with Acrylics (28–29 April) or Art from Imagination (19–20 May); materials and equipment are provided – all you have to do is get creative... nicolaslattery.com/art-courses Nearest station: Diss



Travel by train with Greater Anglia and enjoy our great 2FOR1 offer on entry to the East Anglian Railway Museum; go to bit.ly/2u4C1XE for more information.

The River Stour isn’t just a pretty face, it also offers up some of East Anglia’s finest wild swimming. As the weather gets a little warmer, grab a sensible cossie, pack your best Famous Five-style picnic and head for Manningtree. After a short walk from the station along ancient bridleways, you’ll find Dedham Mill where the river opens into a pond and there is a small gravelly beach. This is Constable territory and, on a sunny day, nothing beats it. Nearest station: Manningtree

13 MOZART MAGIC Fancy a night of tra-la-la-ing? Stop by Snape Maltings on 12 and 13 April for an evening of Mozart, with the English Touring Opera’s energetic new production of the delightfully comic The Marriage of Figaro. snapemaltings.co.uk Nearest station: Saxmundham


If you haven’t outgrown your Thomas the Tank Engine phase, the East Anglian Railway Museum offers railway driver experience days, where you can learn how to drive a full steam locomotive and work the signal box. Now, who wants to be the Fat Controller?

earm.co.uk/steam-railway-driver-experience-days Nearest station: Chappel & Wakes Colne


spring adventures



May can only mean one thing, the Norfolk & Norwich Arts Festival (11–27 May). The Adnams Spiegeltent is back again hosting internationallyacclaimed UK circus company the Barely Methodical Troupe and its world premiere Shift. Meanwhile, the Puppet Theatre has another first, with theatre company Improbable’s The Paper Man. Get involved with dance events, club nights and concerts from Ladysmith Black Mambazo and singer-songwriter Ben Folds. nnfestival.org.uk Nearest station: Norwich


Don your tweed and wellies for the annual East Anglian Game & Country Fair at Euston Hall, near Thetford, on 28 and 29 April. Expect equine events, falconry, dog handling, country cookery and competitions including archery, plus kids’ activities, shopping and plenty of local food and drink. You can even camp at the historic estate and make a weekend of it. ukgamefair.co.uk Nearest station: Thetford


Ditch tweeting for twitching with a bird-watching cruise on an old-fashioned sailing boat between Brightlingsea and Wivenhoe (2 April). Whether you’re an avid bird watcher or new to the game, this is a fabulous half day out exploring the salt marshes and mudflats, spotting avocets, brent geese, oystercatchers and more, before tucking into a hearty lunch on board. top-sail.co.uk/cruises/bird-watchingBook early for brightlingsea advanced fares from only £10 one-way. For Nearest station: Alresford

more information and to book train tickets, visit greateranglia.co.uk

THE BARE NECESSITIES Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera and, of course, Shere Khan come to the Cambridge Arts Theatre this spring in an exciting new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s family classic The Jungle Book (20–24 March). There’ll be catchy new songs, brilliant storytelling and plenty of fun surprises. cambridgeartstheatre.com/whats-on/ jungle-book Nearest station: Cambridge


take me there

SILICO It may be a university town extraordinaire, but Cambridge isn’t just about its students and dreaming spires. Thanks to its pleasing combination of history and culture, booming science and tech scene, and great food and vibrant atmosphere, this is a city that needs to be on your 2018 radar, writes Annabelle Thorpe

Right Take a punt down the river to see a new side of the famous colleges This page Cambridge’s coffee shops are bursting with the employees of ‘Silicon Fen’


Until recently Cambridge was a city almost exclusively designed by its world-famous university. Visitors came to do college tours, maybe swing by The Fitzwilliam Museum, hire a punt and that was that. But in the last 10 years, things have changed; new arts venues and galleries are popping up, the city’s foodie scene has undergone a transformation and the influx of an affluent, non-student crowd – drawn to the swathe of tech companies who inhabit what’s become known as Silicon Fen, the UK’s technology hub – has breathed new life into the city. “The beauty of Cambridge is that it has many different incarnations,” says resident Jonathan Page,

who moved from London eight years ago. “Obviously there are thousands of students, but they do tend to stick to their colleges a lot of the time. Go to a coffee shop in town and you’ll hear one conversation about coding, another about a PHD thesis and another about a pop-up restaurant someone’s opening. There’s a fantastically diverse energy to the city right now.” 21st-century Cambridge may be renowned as a centre of innovation in technology but that sits beside, rather than overtakes, its cultural heritage. And 2018 is set to be an important year, with a trio of its best-loved institutions reopening their doors after periods of extensive renovations. The great news for


take me there

art lovers is Kettle’s Yard – the city’s leading gallery of modern and contemporary art – revealed its new look in February, with updated exhibition spaces, a café and an education wing. And the Museum of Zoology, which originated in 1814, will be completely transformed when it throws open its doors again in March. The highlight is set to be a state-of-the-art ‘Whale Hall’, displaying its legendary skeleton of a Finback Whale – the largest anywhere in the world. Fans of contemporary art should head to the city’s newest gallery, the Heong at Downing College (down.cam.ac.uk), which opened in 2016. For a wider collection of art, the Fitzwilliam has a worldclass collection of paintings, with famous works by Breughel, Titian, and many of the Impressionists. “The Fitz is wonderful, but it does get busy,” says Jonathan. “To escape the crowds, look for a metal staircase that leads up to the small, uppermost gallery where you’re almost nose to nose with the paintings.” Another grande dame with a new look is standout hotel The University Arms (universityarms.com), which opens in spring after a two-year closure. Situated on the grass lawns of Parker’s Piece, the hotel has welcomed visitors to Cambridge since the 1830s. It joins the city’s growing number of contemporary-styled, hip hotels including the Tamburlaine (thetamburlaine.co.uk) and the Varsity (thevarsityhotel.co.uk) with its fabulous rooftop bar. Beyond its iconic buildings, Cambridge is also an incredibly green city, with abundant outside spaces to discover. One of the best ways to explore alfresco is, of course, by punt – the long, narrow boats that have been synonymous with the city since they were first introduced over a century ago. Most visitors use the River Cam to see the ‘Backs’ – a stretch of water east of Queen’s Road, where the grounds of several colleges run right down to the river. Undeniably beautiful, it’s also the busiest stretch; those in the know head in the other direction, past Paradise – the city’s tranquil nature reserve – and on up to Grantchester, where it’s possible to moor up and sit in the famous tea gardens. 18

“G o to a cof fe e s hop i n tow n a nd you’l l hea r o ne co nver sat io n a b out co d i ng, a not her a b out a PH D t hesis a nd a not her a bout a pop -u p rest au ra nt so m eo ne’s ope n i ng ” With all the exploring to be done, it’s just as well Cambridge has become such a foodie city. To get you going in the morning, Hot Numbers (hotnumberscoffee.co.uk) does some of the city’s best coffee. A few doors along, Fitzbillies (fitzbillies.com) is something of an institution; saved from closure by a collective of local residents (including Stephen Fry), it is famous for its treacle-covered Chelsea Buns. For something a little more refined, Midsummer House (midsummerhouse.co.uk) offers the city’s most upscale dining. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018, the two-Michelin star restaurant is an indulgent treat, with eight-course tasting menus, featuring the best locally-sourced produce. Cambridge also has its share of cosy gastro pubs – The Punter (thepuntercambridge.com) was recently voted the UK’s second-best pub. Or, if you like your drinking with a slice of history, the 16th-century Eagle

Clockwise from above Newly renovated Kettle’s Yard reopened on 10 February; the Finback whale skeleton going on display at the new-look Museum of Zoology washed ashore in 1865; Cambridge Science Park has come a long way since its first formation in the 1970s; there are plenty of outdoor spaces to enjoy, such as the lawns of Parker’s Piece, where you can find the revamped University Arms hotel

SIX IN THE CITY What to look out for in Cambridge

(bit.ly/2n6znec) is the place where Francis Crick and James Watson sunk a few beers after discovering the structure of DNA. Underneath all of this, Cambridge has an unexpectedly bohemian heart. In the warmer months, the city hums with music festivals; most famously the Cambridge Folk Festival (cambridgelivetrust.co.uk) and the Strawberry Fair (strawberry-fair.org.uk) – a mini Glastonbury that has kicked off summer for the last 40 years. The Mill Road area of Cambridge is a vibrant alternative to traditional shopping, with oneoff boutiques, vintage shops and ethnic restaurants including Arjuna (arjunawholefoods.co.uk) – the city’s first vegetarian wholefood shop and cafe. All that said, a visit to one of the city’s most famous colleges still shouldn’t be missed. Kings, St John’s, and Trinity are arguably the most beautiful – enter the latter during Evensong, and hear the college choir. To sit in one of the chapels, listening to the flawless voices, is a glimpse of traditional Cambridge. It’s this fusion of old and new, that makes Cambridge such an extraordinary place. Whatever your whim, the city has a wealth of places and experiences to enjoy. But if all you really want is to people-watch and nibble on home-made cake – well, it’s pretty good at that, too.

Nearest stations are Cambridge and the newly-opened Cambridge North station. Book early for advance fares from £7 one way from London. For more information, visit greateranglia.co.uk

Kettle’s Yard

Heong Gallery

A new exhibition, Actions: The Image of the World Can be Different, unites 38 artists around world. kettlesyard.co.uk

An installation of works by Stephen Chambers, with 101 portraits, runs from 24 Feb to 20 May. dow.cam.ac.uk

Cambridge Science Festival

Cambridge Corn Exchange

Two weeks of familyfriendly sciencethemed talks and workshops take place from 12–25 March. sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk

Enjoy big names such as Suggs (20 March) and virtuoso violinist Nigel Kennedy (16 May). cambridgelive trust.co.uk/cornex

Cambridge Literary Festival A full programme of talks, readings and seminars for all ages. 12–15 April. cambridge literaryfestival.com

Eat Cambridge A two-week celebration of the city’s vibrant foodie scene, from 19 May to 3 June. eat-cambridge.co.uk


Discover. Visit this remarkable collection of redeveloped Victorian industrial buildings for distinctive independent shops, cafes and galleries located on the Suffolk coast. Come and visit us.

music ¡ shops ¡ nature ¡ art


literary Anglia

OFF THE PAG E From Charles Dickens to Philip Pullman, the rugged beauty of East Anglia has inspired some of our best-known authors. Victoria Manthorpe follows in the footsteps of these literary greats


“I am still reeling with delight at the soaring majesty of Norfolk,” enthused Sir John Betjeman in a letter, following his tour of the county in the 1970s. The poet – who’d previously reminisced about a childhood trip to the Broads in a poem entitled Norfolk – was no doubt struck by the wide skies, bird-filled marshes and dramatic coastline. He wasn’t the only one. Such a wild and mysterious landscape has made East Anglia into a fine breeding ground for writers, from medieval theologians to today’s vibrant talent emerging from the creative writing course at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The region has long been a source of inspiration, indeed the 19th-century novelist H. Rider Haggard couldn’t have summed it up better when he said his favourite place in London was Liverpool Street Station. East Anglia’s literary history began in Norwich, that fine old city where Lady Julian, a 14th-century religious hermit, lived with her cat in a cell at the side of St Julian’s church, giving out solace to the plague-distressed populous from a small window. What sustained her was her faith, and she wrote an accessible account of her visions called Revelations of Divine Love (1395) – the earliest book in the English language known to have been written by a woman – which continues to attract pilgrims from across the world to the church off Rouen Road. Julian’s near contemporary was Margery Kempe of King’s Lynn – a wife and mother but also a

mystic. Despite being illiterate, she dictated the first ever autobiography in English. The old port of Lynn, as Margery knew it, can still be glimpsed in the renovated centre of the town where old churches, Hanseatic warehouses and the ornate Guildhall are on view. Through the heart of Kings Lynn runs that slow, cold river, the Great Ouse. From the founding of the University in 1209, to the coming of the railway in the 1800s, undergraduates often made their way to Cambridge via the Ouse, and the picturesque streets of King’s Lynn would have been one of the first sights to welcome them to the county. Those fine old Cambridge colleges have been the training ground of a long list of

Rebecca Goss, poet


Local authors, poets and playwrights share their inspirational spots Rory Clements, author Heidi Williamson, poet “Each year a group of writing friends and I go to a retreat at Ditchingham. The countryside around there is peaceful and beautiful – you can see for miles across the fields. Walking the lanes and woodland clears writing space in my head. It’s wonderful for mulling on ideas and lines.” heidiwilliamsonpoet.com


“For inspiration, or simply to soothe my soul, I go to Heydon. It’s a village where you can believe the last hundred years never happened. Visit Salle Church, a huge edifice stranded in the middle of nowhere, on a day when the tower is open (only once a year unfortunately) and you’ll have the best view in Norfolk; and Oxburgh Hall, quite simply the most beautiful castle in England.” roryclements.co.uk

“I grew up in Suffolk, and returned to live in the county in 2013. One of the first places I revisited was Arger Fen, near Bures. I used to live very close to that wild wood and it is redolent with childhood memories. Although it has lost some of the ‘wildness’ I remember (conservation needs must) I walked beside those ancient trees that day, holding my young daughter’s hand as she retraced my steps, our eyes drawn upwards to seek the birds we could hear, and felt myself connecting to East Anglia again. A poem came soon afterwards.” rebeccagoss.wordpress.com

literary Anglia

“Co na n Doyle wa s told a bout t he Nor fol k lege nd of a g host l y dog c a l led Black Shuck . It b eca m e t he H ou nd of t he Ba s ker v i l les” famous writers and poets, and East Anglia is where they looked for stimulation. Members of the Bloomsbury group – a small band of intellectuals including Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell and Maynard Keynes – discovered the orchard at Grantchester a few miles away and made it an intimate meeting place where they discussed their ideas. Rupert Brooke, of course, immortalised the village and vicarage in verse. For a slice of this bygone era (and cake), The Orchard Tea Garden is open daily. As is the church from where James Runcie’s post-war clergyman, Sydney Chambers, cycles out to solve all those Grantchester mysteries. Undoubtedly, fictional sleuths have opened up the eastern counties to wider audiences. The Cambridge mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers took her detective Lord Peter Wimsey out into The Fens for The Nine Tailors (1934); while PD James’ Adam Dalgliesh inherits a windmill on the Norfolk coast, and Alan Hunter’s

Inspector George Gently is based in East Anglia. For politically active Daniel Defoe, the crime drama was more often in real life than on the page. After a stint in prison he moved to Essex to run a tile-making business and, after writing the adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719), he created the ‘memoir’ Moll Flanders (1722). Moll is abandoned as a child in Colchester, a town outside which Defoe actually leased a house shortly after publishing the novel. In the 1930s another political writer, Eric Blair, ensconced himself with his parents at Southwold to compose Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). He adopted the name of the local river, thus becoming George Orwell, author of Animal Farm and 1984. You can take a ferry from Southwold across the river to the little fishing village of Walberswick. Esther Freud’s Mr Mac and

Mary Chapman, children’s author

Rachel Hore, author

“Sometimes a place inspires me by chance. I didn’t go to the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse (Museum of Norfolk Life) with the intention of seeking inspiration. But the exhibits and the building itself evoked a strong sense of the people who once lived there. I began to wonder what it would have been like for a mother and children to arrive at the workhouse door one winter’s night in the late 1830s, to be greeted by an unsympathetic porter. Gressenhall was the place that inspired me to write Paupers.” marychapmanchildrensbooks.co.uk

“The muddy harbour at the mouth of the River Blyth at Southwold in Suffolk has appeared in several of my novels. I love the jumble of fishing and sailing boats tied to wooden jetties along the banks, the sheds where fresh fish are offered for sale, the families waiting in the salty breeze for the rowing boat ferry across to Walberswick. It’s always busy with children fishing for tiny sludge coloured crabs, old fishermen repairing nets, day-trippers and dogs. I sit on a wall or on a bench outside the pub with a notebook to sketch out ideas for characters.” rachelhore.co.uk

Mike Elliston, playwright “I was brought up in Thetford and, although I’ve not lived there for several years, I frequently visit. My favourite spot is Two Mile Bottom in Thetford Forest – it can be so still, walking amongst its tall, pine-scented trees and veering off path, through the bracken. It’s a place I can easily lose myself, clear my head and let inspiration take hold.” mike-elliston.co.uk


literary Anglia

Me (2014) tells of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s troubled sojourn there during World War I. Another literary heavyweight, Charles Dickens, evidently found this edgy coastal atmosphere just the right setting for Mr Peggotty, who lived in his upturned boat on the Yarmouth dunes in the harrowing early scenes of David Copperfield (1850). Yarmouth has further claim to fame as birthplace of Anna Sewell, author of the children’s classic Black Beauty (1877). Her family home, a tiny black and white Tudor house on Church Plain, is squeezed tightly between its neighbours – her name is over the door. Anna had a difficult life, suffering – probably in equal quantities – from a lame ankle and a domineering mother, Mary, who was herself the author of moral tales for children. During the same period but in a more fashionable circle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle played golf on the Cromer links. While he was there, Conan Doyle was told about the Norfolk legend of a ghostly dog called Black Shuck. He put the idea together with the castellated Cromer Hall and it became The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902). The Norfolk coastline inspired others, too. Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas swung by for a working holiday at Felbrigg, where Wilde is said to have started writing Lady Windermere’s Fan (1893). PG Wodehouse’s stay with the LeStrange family at Hunstanton Hall gave him characters for some of his Bertie Wooster stories. And not far away, LP Hartley penned The Go-Between (1953), a disturbing tale of class, sex and betrayal based in Norfolk. These were also the themes of a more recent work, The Remains of the Day (1989) by UEA graduate Kazuo Ishiguro. Last year Ishiguro was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature, which reflects high credit to the UEA’s Creative Writing course that launched him. More than 500 years since Lady Julian took up her pen, Norwich gained another literary great – fantasy writer Philip Pullman was born in the city in 1946. His trilogy His Dark Materials (19952000) features several references to East Anglia – the Fen-country of Eastern Anglia appears as a place in Lyra’s world. Formerly a UNESCO City of Literature, Norwich will host the new National Centre for Writing, which opens this summer with Margaret Atwood as patron. A fitting tribute to a region deep in narratives where, whatever your destination, there is likely to be a writer nearby – watching. Book early for advance fares from only £10 oneway. For more information and train tickets, visit greateranglia.co.uk


HIT THE BOOKS Literary events across the network this spring

Essex Book Festival With more than 100 events across 40 venues, the 2018 Essex Book Festival promises an eclectic mix of writers, performers and broadcasters. Essex singer-songwriter Billy Bragg will launch the Festival at Anglia Ruskin University on 28 February. March, essexbookfestival.org.uk

INK Festival Enjoy 20 new short plays at INK Festival 2018, The Cut Halesworth. As well as ‘The Famous Five’ written especially for INK by Richard Curtis, Esther Freud and Libby Purves, the festival welcomes special guest Tim Bentinck, from radio soap The Archers. 7–8 April, inkfestival.org

UEA Spring 2018 Literary Festival To mark its 25th anniversary, the UEA Spring Literary Festival has a thrilling line-up. Stephen Fry will be joined by Madeline Miller, Jesmyn Ward and alumni Christie Watson and Emma Healey, plus many more. 14 February to 16 May, uea.ac.uk/ litfest/home

Cambridge Literary Festival Experience the likes of Chris Boland, Ruby Wax, Lucy Worsley and Harry Hill and this spring’s Cambridge Literary Festival, as well as Guardian parliamentary sketch writer John Crace and many more. 12–15 April, cambridgeliterary festival.com

garden history

GA R DEN ER’S WO R LD On the bicentenary of the death of 18th-century landscape gardener Humphry Repton, historian Laura Mayer offers a unique insight into the life and works of the green-fingered genius and his affection for East Anglia Humphry Repton may have been immortalised “surrounding a house by a naked grass field” was a by author Jane Austen in Mansfield Park, but the “bald, insipid custom”, Repton turned his back on the Regency landscape gardener’s heart lay a little manicured parks of the Georgian gentry and ushered further east than the fictitious Northamptonshire in instead an age of flamboyant embellishments, estate. Born in Suffolk in 1752 and buried at statues, fountains and fussy floral trelliswork. St. Michael and All Angels Church in Aylsham, Born in Bury St. Edmunds on 21 April to a tax Repton’s connections with East Anglia run deep. collector and the daughter of a minor local squire, The landscape and culture of the region had a Repton strove throughout his life to improve his lasting effect on Repton’s scenic and social views position in society. He confessed snobbishly that and, this spring, East Anglia will host the official the ‘chief benefit’ he derived from his landscaping launch of Repton 200, a year of nationwide career was ‘the society of those to whose notice I celebrations marking the bicentenary of his death. could not otherwise have aspired’. While Repton With a raft of failed ventures behind him, was still a boy, the family moved to Norwich, Repton was 36 years old when he determined where he attended the local grammar school and to reinvent himself as a ‘landscape befriended the botanist James Edward gardener’ – a term he personally Smith, who would later encourage his Above Repton’s business card showed him in situ, coined. He styled himself ambitiously interests in gardening and sketching. surveying the landscape as Capability Brown’s successor: Predestined for the thriving Right At Wimpole, Repton the century’s next great improver of Norwich textile industry, Repton recommended removing trees to reveal the house landed property. Concluding that was saved from a failing mercantile 26

career by the death of both his parents. In 1778, he bought a small country estate at Sustead, a hamlet in north Norfolk, where he dedicated himself to the life of an upwardly mobile country squire. A career as political secretary for his wealthy neighbour William Windham was disappointingly short-lived. Resolutely cheerful, Repton consoled his wife Mary that “I have formed some connexions with the great”. This dogged determination and continuous social advancement – combined with a moderate talent for watercolour painting – was to be responsible for his great success as a “layer out of grounds”. Repton’s very first landscaping job was for a friend of Windham’s, the silk merchant and local mayor Jeremiah Ives. Beginning work on 70-acre Catton Park on the outskirts of Norwich in 1788, Repton devised a new entrance to the estate and careful planting to frame the fine views of Norwich Cathedral. Norfolk is home to two more of Repton’s great commissions: Holkham Hall, where he was 28


Laura Mayer is a lecturer and researcher. She holds an MA in garden history and a PhD in 18th-century landscape design. She is the author of Humphry Repton (Shire Publications, 2014).

employed by Thomas Coke from the summer of 1789, and Sheringham Park, arguably the most complete and best surviving example of his style. Holkham, with its arresting, unspoilt coastline and epic skies, was the largest estate in Norfolk – the landscape park alone covered 2,000 acres. Undaunted, at Holkham Repton literally walked in the footsteps of Brown. Repton’s designs for Holkham and Sheringham, as well as for Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, were perfectly presented in his famous Red Books. Named for the colour of their Moroccan leather binding, these portfolios produced a persuasive contract for improvements, painstakingly illustrated with seductive ‘before and after’ snapshots of the estate in question. Lifting an overlay allowed Repton’s clients to visualise immediately the possibilities lying dormant within their grounds, should they choose to employ his services. They proved a winning strategy. By 1795 Repton had worked on over 50 landscaping projects and, by his own account, more than 400 by the end of his career. In contrast to the sweeping parks of the beginning of the century, designed for privacy and exclusion, Repton loved bustling village life. His desire was to bring “inhabitancy” back into the landscape, with footpaths, shrubberies for intimate conversation, and well-staffed pleasure grounds. At Wimpole, where he trod on the toes of every major figure in garden design from the 17th century onwards, Repton campaigned for the reinstatement of a park paling and an enclosed formal garden.

garden history

Clockwise from top left Take part in the Humphry Repton Photography Competition at Sheringham Park; Repton purposely darkened the woods at Sheringham to make the house a bolder reveal when it came; this page from Repton’s Red Book for Sheringham shows his grand proposal for the new house

At Sheringham, a 60-year-old Repton found in Abbot and Charlotte Upcher “the delightful intercourse of congenial minds”. With its “pleasing prospects of the unbounded ocean”, conveniently “enlivened by the multitude of fishermen”, Sheringham formed a climax to Repton’s career. It brought him unending recognition in his home county, through both the landscape park and the fashionable new manor house, a “modern Italian villa”, which he designed with the help of his son, the architect John Adey Repton. Repton reflected with satisfaction that with “natural beauty and local advantage” Sheringham “may be considered my most favourite work”. The last surviving record of Repton’s life was a letter concerning ongoing works at Sheringham. For, at breakfast on 24 March 1818, Repton died in the arms of his servant, probably of a heart attack. His Aylsham grave was planted with perfumed roses, according to his wishes. Repton was gone, but in pursuing his own personal ambitions, England’s relationship with nature had been changed forever. For more on the events held by The Gardens Trust and Aylsham Town Council, starting in March 2018, visit humphryrepton.org or follow #Repton200. Book your train travel at greateranglia.co.uk


Where to admire the landscape gardener’s work across the network

Catton Park

Holkham Hall

Sheringham Park

Wimpole Estate

Repton’s first commission, this pretty 70-acre country park on the northern outskirts of Norwich boasts a wildflower meadow and stunning woodland

Repton was asked by Thomas William Coke to reimagine the pleasure grounds around the lake of this impressive Palladian Hall, which is set in the midst of a vast 25,000-

Just a few miles from Sustead, where Repton once lived, soak up the sea

Wimpole’s owners, the Earls of Hardwicke, employed a succession of gardeners, including Repton. The Hall is

complete with sculptures. cattonpark.com

acre north Norfolk estate. holkham.co.uk

views and country vistas of this 1,000 acre estate on ‘Repton’s Walk’. nationaltrust.org.uk/ sheringham-park

the largest country house in Cambridgeshire. nationaltrust.org.uk/ wimpole-estate


Hi, I’m Col and that’s my best bug Chester!




I’m a real egg head

Why shouldn’t you tell an Easter egg a joke? It might crack up!


Col and Chester love Easter eggs! Why don’t you draw in the missing half of this egg, so both sides look exactly the same? Grab some pencils or pens and colour it in.

See if you can guide the bunny through the rabbit warren to find his friend.

Let’s have some fun. No grown-ups allowed!


How did the soggy Easter Bunny dry himself? With a haredryer!

CHEEP CHEEP! Our little chicks have been busy chirping their way through the pages of the magazine. Can you help Col round them all up? There are six in total.


Organise the words from our list to fit in the right places in the grid to solve our crossword puzzle. Bonnet Bunny Chick Daffodil Easter Lamb




This game is for two players. Player 1 joins any two dots with a vertical or horizontal line, then player 2 does the same. The goal is to be the player who completes a box. When you do, write your initial inside, and take an extra turn. The player with the most boxes at the end is the winner!

smart traveller OFFERS / ADVICE / IDEAS


Play your cards right Calling all savvy passengers… did you know you can save hundreds of pounds on your train travel with our Railcards? We give you the lowdown on what’s on offer Club 50 Railcard 50 or over? Join our Club 50 and you can enjoy 20% off Advance and Offpeak tickets when you book online. Plus you’ll get 2FOR1 entry into over 150 top London attractions and regional offers, all for just £20 for 12 months. Visit greateranglia.co.uk/club50 26–30 Railcard We’re trialling this new digital railcard, which will save you ⅓ on most journeys. Get yours now for just £30 at 26-30railcard.co.uk. Keep your eyes peeled for more details! 16–25 Railcard Aged between 16 and 25 years or over 26

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Network Railcard Costing just £30 per year, the Network Railcard is for anyone over the age of 16; it will give you ⅓ off standard Off-Peak and Anytime tickets for travel in the Network Railcard area, as well as discounts on trips to London, and 2FOR1 at top attractions. Senior Railcard Senior Railcards are available for anyone over 60 years of age. For £30 per year you can save ⅓ on rail fares. Two Together Railcard Get our Two Together Railcard with a best friend or family member, enabling you to enjoy ⅓ off rail fares when you travel together. It costs just £15 each for savings on many Standard and First Class journeys.

For further information about our Railcards, visit greateranglia.co.uk/tickets-fares/discounts/railcards


smart traveller MEE T THE TE AM

Ken the Fare Guru We go behind the scenes of Greater Anglia to talk to those who know it best. This issue we catch up with pricing analyst Ken Strong

MAKE CONNECTIONS It’s easy: join our onboard entertainment service ‘Connect’ on our Intercity trains between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Simply click the ‘Greater Anglia Wi-Fi’ icon and register online. You’ll be able to log on in the future with your email. It’s accessible: access our entertainment hub through the Greater Anglia app to enjoy premium content at the touch of a button. Download the app at greateranglia.co.uk/travelinformation/journey-planning/ mobile-apps It’s entertaining: fancy keeping up with the Kardashians? Stream the latest television shows from hayu and NOW TV for free on the Greater Anglia app. It’s varied: catch up on movie trailers and browse the latest digital magazines. A service from Reuters provides passengers with the latest headlines. It’s improving: we’re extending our free Wi-Fi service to all our other trains, as well as improving the service available at our stations. We’ll keep you updated where and when it’s available. For more information, visit greateranglia.co.uk/travelinformation/your-journey/wifi

I do a fare guru type role in that I advise stations, marketing, social media and customer relations about fares. If a customer has a fare query that is not run-of-themill, they will come to me.

I used to go to school on the train every day from the age of 11 and I’ve worked on the railway for 18 years. I’ve been an on-train host and worked in the ticket office; for the last nine years I’ve been a pricing analyst. I do the technical nitty gritty stuff like making sure that the fare restrictions are right and that people can buy tickets at the times they’re supposed to be able to buy them. Essentially, I make sure the fare system runs smoothly. Ken the Fare Guru is my alter ego. Not to blow my own trumpet, but everybody knows me on the railway as the person to ask about fares. So they came up with the title and the cartoon character, which does actually look very like me!

I like to travel on the network when I am not working. Southminster is quite rural and Burnhamon-Crouch is a nice place for a day out. There are lots of little lines you can discover. The lines through the Broads down to Great Yarmouth are lovely, and the Sudbury line. My advice for making savings? I always say to people, check the price for your through journey. Suppose you are going from a small station near London to a small station near Norwich, don’t buy the main journey and smaller ones separately, it may be better to buy the whole thing in one.

Look smart With government plans unveiled to introduce smart ticketing across England and Wales by the end of 2018, here’s everything you need to know about getting Smart the Greater Anglia way WHY?


A Smart card is an electronic, reusable card. Simply buy your Season Ticket online and then present your card at a gate or ticket machine to load it onto your Smart Card. When passing through automatic ticket gates, you touch your Card on the reader. What’s more, it’s plastic, so it is more durable than paper tickets.

Apply for your Smart Card at greateranglia. co.uk/smart (you’ll need your photocard number). We’ll send your card within three working days. Once you receive it, log into your online account and purchase or renew your Season Ticket. Then collect your Season Ticket from your chosen collection station before you travel. Simple.

WHO? The Smart Card is available to anyone over 16 years of age, using a Weekly, Monthly, Custom Duration or Annual Season Ticket on the Norwich, Southend and Cambridge to London routes.


Arthur Smith goes off the rails

“Alarmingly, at the desk sat a pallid model of Mrs Thatcher”


Above Arthur Smith is prepared for anything in the bunker store room Below Arthur ready to test survivors for potential contamination

We looked at a room plastered with maps, rows of joyless bunk beds, the sewage plant, the sick bay, piles of Geiger counters; Mike’s commentary made it clear he was not convinced about the likely efficacy of these preparations and quoted Einstein’s famous words, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” As I was leaving, Mike gave me a copy of ‘Protect and Survive,’ a pamphlet I remember from the late 70s, which provided instructions on what to do if the dreaded warning went off – essentially, ‘Hide under the stairs, quick!’ Emerging from this fascinating, if rather grim, subterranean stronghold into the bright Essex air, I felt a lightening in my step and reflected that, despite Donald Trump’s pistol waving, the likelihood of a catastrophic nuclear war is not as dire as it was at times in the Cold War era. Let’s hope that from now on we are all really nice to each other. Hmmm… Visit secretnuclearbunker.com to plan a visit to The Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker. The nearest station is Shenfield. Book your travel at greateranglia.co.uk


An ordinary afternoon and you are strolling along the road, wondering what you might have for tea, when SUDDENLY everything changes: WAAH-WAAH-WAAH-WAAH – you are deafened by the hoarse screaming of a siren. There is shouting, figures sprint past. Oh my gawd, is this it? A green flash obliterates the light and… Everyone who lived through the Cold War years had, at some point, imagined a scenario like this and now I was off to spend a morning revisiting these chilling times. As the taxi took me through the gentle countryside a few miles from Shenfield station, I spotted a road sign: “Secret nuclear bunker, turn right 180 yards ahead.” I laughed out loud – not that secret then. Of course, the sign would not have been there in 1952 when the Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear bunker first served as a potential refuge for the powerful, nor would the shelter have been easy to spot because, from the outside, it resembled a typical farm cottage. But if Britain had got nuked this was one of the bunkers around the country that would have become a government headquarters. Sealed off from the outside, deep inside the landscape, with enough provisions to last three months, it could accommodate the hundreds of military and civilian personnel who would be tasked with organising the survival of whatever was left of Britain’s population. Since being decommissioned in 1992, Kelvedon Hatch has become a museum and tourist attraction, not to mention a favoured venue for ghost-chasing nights. After walking through two long, thickly-walled tunnels, I arrived in the gift shop where, waiting for me with a cup of tea, was Mike, the affable and knowledgeable museum boss (and owner of the land here, once it was passed back to his family by the government). Mike showed me round the brightly-lit, windowless, concrete, three-storey structure starting with the radio studio, which would have been used to transmit information to the world outside. Alarmingly, at the desk sat a pallid model of Mrs Thatcher. Mike explained that, as this was the bunker closest to London, it may have housed the Prime Minister.

ENJOY some of the best attractions in the South East, with Southend Pier, Adventure Island fun park and Sea-Life Aquarium.


EXPLORE the great outdoors with a range of exhilarating watersports, beautiful parks and gardens, and award-winning beaches.


the town’s diverse cultural offering with art

in one of our fabulous places to eat and drink,

galleries, fascinating museums, stunning

or indulge in a 4 star hotel or boutique B&B to

historic houses and year-round events.

extend your stay that little bit longer.

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Out now: Discover Greater Anglia magazine  

Start planning your Spring adventures across the network with the latest issue

Out now: Discover Greater Anglia magazine  

Start planning your Spring adventures across the network with the latest issue